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Grants available for Construction Education Academy students

Grants available for Construction Education Academy students

Posted: 04.26.22

The United States needs over 2 million construction workers to fill positions for the next three years, according to a CBS News report.  Electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and HVAC mechanics are in high demand and offer high paying career options.  ABC Construction Education Academy offers a nine-month training program for those in demand construction careers.  Central Scholarship has partnered with  ABC Construction Education Academy to help Maryland students complete the CEA program with little to no educational debt. Central Scholarship is providing grants to eligible students to cover the training costs.

Construction industry training provides living-wage career opportunities to students who may not want to attend college, who prefer hands-on jobs, and/or career changers.  Central Scholarship and ABC Construction Education Academy are partnering to support high school graduates and GED earners to launch careers in the skilled trades listed below.

ABC Construction Education Academy Program Overview

Career Tracks:

  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Carpenter
  • HVACR Mechanic

According to, hourly wages for entry-level skilled workers in Maryland start at:

  • Carpenter – $24.75/hour
  • Electrician – $26.75/hour
  • HVACR Mechanic – $30.08/hour
  • Plumber – $29.38/hour

The 2022/2023 ABC Construction Education Academy School Year Schedule:

  • 250-hour program
  • July 2022 through March 2023
    • Part 1 – July through August (daytime classes)
    • Part 2 – September through March (evening apprenticeship classes)

What students can expect:

  • Training and hands-on experience
  • Industry-accredited, skilled-trades training and certification
  • Guaranteed job interviews with companies after graduation
  • Pathway to registered apprenticeship recognized by the Maryland Department of Labor

To be eligible for the Central Scholarship/ABC Construction Education Academy grant, applicants must complete and submit the following no later than June 20, 2022:

  1. Attend Online Orientation (last session June 16, 2022)
  2. Construction Education Academy Trade School Application
  3. Central Scholarship’s ABC Construction Education Academy Grant Application
  4. Career Fit Test (Central Scholarship will provide instructions to grant applicants)


When does the program start?

July 11, 2022

When is the Central Scholarship Construction Education Academy grant application deadline?

June 20, 2022

What do students need to participate in the program?

Individuals are required to provide a doctor’s certificate to work in the trade, proof of age, copy of high school diploma or GED, and proof of work experience.

What happens during Part 2 – Apprenticeship classes?

Students will start out as Apprenticeship Helpers or more commonly called Laborers.  The length of time it takes to move up the chain is up to the contractor and how fast the student grasps the information from classroom to work and work to classroom.

How much do Laborers make per hour?

The average compensation for a Laborer without any experience averages from $13.00 – $15.00 an hour.  Once the students become registered, they can possibly double their income over four years.

What companies have hired program graduates?

Students who have completed the program have been employed by DEL Electric, TEI, Spartan Electric, Hirsch, Benfield, Hayes, Leonard Kraus, and Calvert Mechanical.

How soon or what is the latest that students can register for the classes that will be starting in July?

Prospective students must first attend an Online Orientation session before being able to move to the application process.  Online Orientation session registration details can be found at   ABC’s last Online Orientation session is scheduled for June 16th.  Seats are available until they are filled so the earlier students register for an Online Orientation session, the better chance they have of getting a seat.

What happens if I can’t attend any of the Online Orientation sessions?

ABC requires prospective students to attend an Online Orientation session. Contact ABC’s office at 410-821-0351 to discuss any possible alternatives.

Is the program open to individuals with prior convictions or who have completed rehabilitation/reentry programs after being incarcerated or in drug treatment facilities?

ABC does not conduct a background check, however, hiring contractors will require the individual to go through a background check.  ABC does not have any say over the contractors’ hiring process.

Are individuals with DACA status/Dreamers eligible to participate in the program?

Individuals would be required to provide I-9 information when applying for jobs with contractors.

Will students receive college credit when they complete the program?

ABC Greater Baltimore has a partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).  Once a student has been accepted into the ABC program, they will complete a registration application with CCBC.  Students receive 4 credit hours for each year that they successfully complete through ABC Greater Baltimore.  These credits could possibly be used towards the CCBC Associate degree or Certificate in Construction Management or Construction Craft Professional.

Will I have to repay the grant if I don’t successfully complete/pass the course?

Yes, students who receive Construction Education Academy grants from Central Scholarship to cover program costs and do not successfully complete the course will be required to repay the cost of the program.

Do I have to take the Career Fit Test?

Yes, Central Scholarship requires all prospective grant recipients to take the Career Fit Test.  Central Scholarship will provide test taking instructions to grant applicants.

What if I have more questions?

For Construction Education Academy questions, contact ABC at 410-821-0351.  For Central Scholarship Construction Education Academy grant questions, email [email protected].

College graduate wins $30,000 to payoff student loans

Posted: 12.17.21

Blair Smith graduated May 2020 from the University of Maryland College Park with a bioengineering degree and $29,825 in federal student loans.  Three months later she wins $30,000 to payoff her federal student loans from Central Scholarship.

The United States student loan debt total is over $1.7 trillion.  As of February 2022, students will have to begin federal student loan repayment after a 22-month interest freeze.  For many student loan borrowers this will pose a financial strain.

Central Scholarship and its supporters recognize the financial burden of student loans.  Through a generous gift from donors Ira and Marcia Wagner the Paydown Debt Award was created six years ago.  Every year a recipient of a Central Scholarship award who has graduated from college gets the chance to win up to $30,000 to pay off their student loan debt.

Blair was able to take advantage of this life changing opportunity and WMAR-2 News came to witness the momentous occasion.

“You have no idea what this means to me.  One year out of college, I never expected to be free of my federal student loans.  This has been an uncertain time for everyone and I was not looking forward to making a monthly student loan payment.  Now I don’t have to.  I’m so grateful to Central Scholarship!,” explained Blair.

Blair was born and raised in Baltimore City and graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.  She is currently employed in her field and looking forward to pursuing a masters degree or additional certifications.  “The gift of paying off my federal student loans will allow me to pay for my next degree or certifications without loans.  This is a huge burden off of me,” said Blair.

Each year, Central Scholarship awards more than $1.2 million in scholarships and interest free loans to students, of which 33% are first generation college students.  Additional support is provided through emergency funding that assists students with essential food needs, medications or other costs related to medical care, transportation needed to attend class, safety needs, replacement of essential personal belongings due to fire, theft, or natural disaster, or travel costs related to a death or illness in the immediate family.

Central Scholarship provides scholarship support for career training programs, undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies degrees.  To apply for a Central Scholarship visit: Undergraduate, Graduate & Professional Scholarships – Central Scholarship (

To watch Blair payoff her student loans check out the story on WMAR-2 News Baltimore’s website.

Central Scholarship Emergency Fund Recipient

Interstate Transportation Emergency Grant Opens Internship Doors

Posted: 11.29.21

Lola has never been one to let financial circumstances affect any opportunity she desires or goal she sets for herself. Growing up, medicals bills and hospital stays for a sibling placed many financial strains on Lola’s family. But it was this experience that inspired Lola to work towards her academic goals of pursuing a career in public health and medicine.

Lola refused to let a quality college education and achieving her dreams be determined by her family’s financial position, so when she was accepted to New York University Lola came to Central Scholarship to help fill the financial gap.

After a successful second year studying at New York University, Lola decided to take advantage of an internship with the Maryland Department of Health within the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Originally when Lola sought out this opportunity it was scheduled to be remote because of the pandemic. However, as state guidelines changed, and government agencies started to open again the requirements of the internship shifted and Lola would now need to report to the Maryland Department of Health’s office in Baltimore 3 days per week.

Participating in the internship would cause a financial strain for Lola, but she did not want to miss out on the opportunity. With a paying job as well as other research and volunteer commitments in New York City, she would have to remain in the city to fulfill those duties. To also be able to continue the internship with the Maryland Department of Health meant that she would have to commute to and from Maryland every week and cut back on hours at her paying job in New York.

With the help of the Emergency Fund, taking a train between New York and Baltimore every week was not a financial barrier to Lola successfully being able to complete her internship experience.
Help students like Lola receive the financial support they need to successfully complete and focus on their studies by making your gift to the Central Scholarship Student Emergency Fund Today!

Pay Dental Bill or Tuition?


Dentist visits can be scary.  Having all four wisdom teeth removed is scary and painful.  Health insurance not covering the cost of the dental bill is devasting.  Choosing to pay a dental bill or tuition; should never happen!

This was Wasilat’s unfortunate reality.  But her story started in Nigeria long before her dental surgery.  Wasilat experienced unreliable, ill-equipped medical facilities first-hand. She saw how poorly funded government health facilities lead to the loss of lives.

From that time, she made a commitment to study Public Health.  Wasilat’s dream is to make reliable healthcare accessible to underserved communities.  This lead her to a pre-med track at the University of Maryland.

Then she had a medical setback of her own.  Four painful impacted wisdom teeth lead to surgery.  After surgery, Wasilat was hit with a bill that her insurance did not cover.  This bill was not in her “college student budget.”  Wasilat was on her own and needed to figure it out.

Not to mention, she already registered for two summer classes and a National Institutes of Health internship. This medical bill would make it impossible to complete her summer plans.  The financial burden, worry, and stress would impact her grades and internship.  Her only solution was to get another job.  But there was not enough time for classes, a job, and an internship. Would Wasilat have to choose to pay her dental bill or tuition?

Determined to stay focused on her professional path, she turned to Central Scholarship.  She remembered the Emergency Fund specifically for CS scholarship recipients.  Wasilat applied and was granted funding.  She was able to put the stress of this unplanned expense behind her quickly so she could focus on her studies.

Help students like Wasilat receive the financial support they need to successfully focus and focus on their studies by making your gift to the Central Scholarship Student Emergency Fund Today!

Central Scholarship Gives Rewards David With Emergency College Fund

Medical bill covered by Student Emergency Fund

Posted: 11.23.21

A medical bill emergency almost stopped David from graduating.  As a senior at the University of Maryland, he was excelling academically and socially.  He was on the Dean’s list, leader of two campus organizations, a US Army Research Lab intern, and about to receive his Electrical Engineering degree.  But he could not afford the surgery; Central Scholarship’s Student Emergency Fund was able to help cover his medical bill.

With all David’s academic accomplishments, he was still struggling personally. One of David’s parents was undergoing medical treatment which made the family’s finances tight.

Then David faced a painful medical issue. He decided to postpone the needed surgery due to finances. Then the pandemic hit, David lost his on-campus job, and his summer internship was cancelled.

Paying for surgery now seemed impossible. David worried about finding a new job, his health, and maintaining his grades. Fear that surgery could stop him from attending classes and extracurricular activities weighed heavy on him.

David was also concerned about his commitment as President of Theta Tau and the Vice President of Corporate Affairs for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

With the help of the Central Scholarship Student Emergency Fund, David was able to schedule his surgery over the summer, heal and recover, and stay on track for graduation.

Unfortunately, David’s story is not uncommon.  Thousands of students struggle with financial emergencies every semester.  These unexpected financial burdens sometimes force students to leave school.

In many cases, they are unable to complete their degree, take off a semester, or drop out of college.  Students sometimes have to decided between paying for a medical expense, paying for food, paying for transportation, or paying for tuition.

You can help students like David get through unexpected medical, transportation, food, or technology emergencies. Make your gift to the Central Scholarship Student Emergency Fund Today!

Central Scholarship President discusses scholarships, student loan debt, and college application season.
Image: Courtesy of Fox 45 News

Using scholarships to avoid student loan debt

Posted: 11.03.21

Tierra A. Dorsey, Central Scholarship President, was featured on WEAA 88.9 FM and Fox News 45 to discuss using scholarships to avoid student loan debt and the benefits of aligning scholarship application accessibility with the college application season, respectively.

The student loan debt crisis is now tipping the scales at $1.7 trillion and Maryland families are carrying $35.5 billion dollars of that debt, according to the Education Data Initiative.  Dorsey discussed how student loans can be avoided with careful and early planning.

“We try to educate the entire family around the process of attending college (with an emphasis on finances).  It’s a conversation that should be had early and often.  Most families don’t start talking about finding scholarships until their student is in the 11th or 12th grade and that’s a little too late.  When a child enters middle school those serious conversations should be held.  It’s during this time that parents and families should be exploring all opportunities of financial aid to attend college,” explained Dorsey on WEAA 88.9 FM.

Maryland borrowers have the second highest per borrower federal student loan debt of all states at $43,219.  Here are the Maryland student loan stats according to the Education Data Initiative:

  • $35.5 billion in student loan debt belongs to state residents.
  • $43,219 is the average student loan debt.
  • 821,400 student borrowers live in Maryland.
  • 51.4% of them are under the age of 35.
  • 13.3% of state residents have student loan debt.
  • Among the state’s indebted student borrowers, 12.5% owe less than $5,000.
  • 20.8% owe $20,000 to $40,000.
  • 3.2% owe more than $200,000.

Dorsey shared that interest-bearing student loans should be considered a last resort resource to be explored after “free money” resources like scholarships, grants, and 0% interest student loans.

“Most people don’t realize what’s right in their backyards. There are hundreds, let me rephrase, thousands of scholarship opportunities out there.  Our government, (Maryland) state’s government, the (Maryland) General Assembly, and your state delegates; they have scholarships available for the taking,” says Dorsey.

To support Central Scholarship’s initiative to provide financial access, resources, and opportunity for students throughout the state of Maryland to attend college, the 2022-2023 Central Scholarship application opened on October 15th this year.

The new opening date coincides with the national college application process and early FAFSA completion initiatives.  The decision was made to change the scholarship’s opening date to October 15th (formerly opening on January 1st) after feedback from school counselors and students.

“We’ve learned that students become burned out by the time applications for scholarships open up which is usually at the beginning of the year.  We are meeting them where they are.  The college application process is happening now. So, we decided to open our application earlier so students can apply for our scholarships while they are already in application and FAFSA mode. In most cases, students can re-use or recycle their college application essays for the Central Scholarship application,” said Dorsey in a Fox 45 News interview.

To hear and view the full interviews, use the following links:

WEAA 88.9 – Tackling the Student Debt Crisis

Fox 45 News – Central Scholarship Applications Open